ENGAGING JAYDEN

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KNOX


Fuck me...

I never thought my sister would leave the kitchen.

Watching Gage flirting with Jayden got under my skin. I hated it when guys checked my sister out and tried to get with her because frankly I knew exactly the twisted shit that crossed their minds when they saw her. And it bothered the hell out of me. Though the flirting exchange between the two annoyed me, I couldn’t help but soak up the laughter that erupted from her. A warmth spread through me. Nearly to the point that it made my chest ache. It has been six months since I heard a true laugh like that from her.

Frankly, I missed it.

I missed seeing her smile. I missed seeing her filled with joy. The attack had seemed to have sucked all the life out of her. I hated it. I hated the fucker who was responsible for it. Everytime I witnessed her struggle or even caught a glimpse of the scar on her neck made my hands hurt. I wanted to tear the fucker apart for destroying her like he had.

All I wanted was to have my sister back.

Which was why I was caught at a crossroad seeing her with Gage.

What was it about him that caused her to drop her guard?

She had just met him and yet she was more comfortable around him than she had been with Brock who she dated for the last year and half. Not to mention had known him her entire life. Gage touched her openly and Jayden never flinched.

Not once.

It puzzled me.

And I fucking hate puzzles.

I watched Jayden flinch for months whenever Brock tried to touch her. Finally, he gave up trying. Seeing that, I knew they wouldn’t last. And it wasn’t all on her. Brock didn’t try nor did he put in the effort to help Jayden get better. I’m glad the fucker is out of the picture. It was her relationship and I tried my best to stay out of it. Even though it was harder than hell at times. Spencer on the other hand didn’t hold what he thought of Brock. He was at odds and ends with the prick constantly. I wonder if I should have done the same.

It worried me seeing how Jayden reacted to Gage. She’s been in a fragile state for a while now and I’m afraid of how far she’ll fall off the edge if she gets her heart broken.

And Gage will break her heart.

I like the guy. But he’s not into relationships.

And Jayden doesn’t do casual hookups.

Not sure how many guys she’s been with, not that I want to know, but I knew it wasn’t many.

Hearing her bedroom door shut, I wiped my hand over my face. I knew what I had to do.

There were two conversations going; Deion, Gage and Spencer were in one; Alex and Tom were in another. I hated to break it up but it had to be done. They had to know what the fuck was going on here. I really wished Spencer hadn’t forgotten that he had invited Gage and his crew up here. It would have made things a lot easier. And I could have avoided this. “I hate to break this all up, but...There’s something I need to tell you all.” I crossed my arms over my chest.

All eyes were suddenly on me. The room got quiet. “We have a problem.” I looked to the floor and rubbed my forehead wishing that simple act alone would take the stress of this off.

It didn’t.

I crossed my arms over my chest and looked up. “Six months ago my sister was attacked. The police assumed that it was a wanderer passing through town but after what happened a few days ago. It’s clearly some sick-fuck fan of her’s or some shit. I’ll get to that in a minute.” I couldn’t hide the irritation from my voice. And here came the hard part. “He— he beat her up pretty bad. Beat the fucking shit out of her actually.” Suddenly I felt like I was choking and I had to take a deep breath. I swallowed hard at the memory of her lying on the floor of the tavern. Her hand gripping her throat as blood spurred from her neck. Her face was beat to hell. I still recall the fear in her eyes pleading to me just before she passed out. “He tried to rape her and ah— He slit her throat. Hit her jugular. I came in just,” I felt tears gathering in my eyes and I swallowed them back, “just in time.”

My voice abandoned me. I took a deep breath. Reaching up, I rubbed my jaw as if that would clear the memory.

Who the fuck was I trying to kid?

How the fuck was I going to finish explaining? I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. But I thought it was going to be easier than this.

“Knox went to Vegas early to settle in before his fight. You all know how that goes.” Spencer stepped in.

I thanked my lucky stars that he did.

I could hardly fucking breathe.

“I stayed behind with Jayden so she didn’t have to fly down alone. Since her attack her anxiety is off the charts and it helps her when one of us is around.” Spencer took his phone out of his pocket. After a few seconds he tossed it on the table. The picture of Jayden laying in the hospital bed after her surgery was in plain sight. A vision that will forever be ingrained in my memory.

I’d fucking do anything to erase it.

The room was filled momentarily with what everyone thought of the son-of-a-bitch. All except Gage. He hadn’t said a word. His eyes locked on the screen of Spencer’s phone. For a few seconds he was still as a statue. His eyes never linger on one cut, bruise or bandage longer than the other. His jaw and muscles tensed. He looked away, not letting his eyes land on anyone. His breathing quickened. I knew the blood flowing through his veins was racing. He rubbed his jaw and leaned against the archway. The man looked like a sleeping volcano that would erupt any moment. I’ve watched Gage fight. The man was a fucking machine. He wasn’t someone I’d piss off intentionally.

I wondered what was going through his mind right now. I knew he was pissed seeing that Jayden was attacked, hell, all the guys here were pissed. But I couldn’t help but wonder if it went beyond that. Why, I don’t know. He just met her. But his firm stance and edgy posture looked like he was struggling to hold himself back from punching something.

Spencer continued. “It’s obviously someone we know because Jayden told us yesterday that the fucker sent her a text before we left for Vegas. A video rather. She won’t let anyone see it, but it’s a clip of her while she stayed here one of the nights that Knox was gone.”

“He came into the house while she was alone?” Tom frowned.

“Yeah,” Spencer replied.

“He didn’t try anything?” Alex pressed.

Spencer shook his head. “I’m glad he didn’t, but I don’t understand why he didn’t. No one was here.”

“He’s toying with her.” Tom explained. “I got my master’s in phycology and I can tell you that he’s um— That’s a problem. A real problem actually. You’re dealing with a sociopath. And if I were you... I wouldn’t let her out of my fucking sight. Ever.”

I swore under my breath.

Great.

Just fucking great.

The rage that builds in me is barely containable. I’ve been overly protective of my sister since the day she was born. I have a short video of me holding her in the hospital that our parents had taken to prove it. I tried packing her everywhere I went. My protectiveness only escalated the moment our parents died. She had few boyfriends in junior high and high school. My fault entirely. And I don’t regret it. To know that someone wants to grope your sister is one thing, but to know that she has a sociopathic fucker that means to hurt her is another. I want to kill the bastard for what he did to her. For what he’s doing to her even now.

“We’ve changed the locks and security code already.” Spencer took his hat off and ran his hand over his shaved head several times before putting his hat back on. He situated his position in his seat. He then looked to Gage. “I was so pissed when I found out about the video that I completely forgot that I invited you up. This puts you in a predicament and I apologize. You pry are going to want to leave and I get it. You don’t need the chaos of this shit. But just know that you’re more than welcome to stay and use our facility.”

Gage was pissed. I could practically smell it on him. I wasn’t sure if his anger was set solely on her attacker or if it was partially on the fact that he wasted his time coming up here.

A moment passed before Gage looked to his coaches and broke the silence of the room. “I’m staying. If any of you want to leave that’s fine. I’ll understand. You’ll be paid either way you know that.” He shook his head and looked at me. He held on to every word when he added, “I really hope that the mother fucker shows up.” He pushed off the wall and left the room.

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